Executive Compensation

The high-profile November 18, 2018 arrest in Japan of Carlos Ghosn, the Chairman and former CEO of Nissan (and of several other car companies) on charges of misleading the Japanese government and investors about his compensation made the front pages of the world’s papers. Continuing revelations, including the recent indictment of Ghosn and other company executive, continue to roil the company. On December 11, 2018, an institutional investor and holder of U.S.-traded Nissan ADR’s initiated a securities class action lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit is interesting in and of itself but also with respect to how it reflects several recent securities litigation filing trends.
Continue Reading Nissan Chairman’s Arrest and Pay Disclosure Leads to U.S. Securities Suit

In the great pendulum swing that characterizes the mood toward government oversight of companies and corporate governance, the pendulum in the U.S. has swung against regulation and against mandated governance requirements. However, in the U.K., the pendulum is on the opposite end of the arc, as the current government is moving quickly to adopt new corporate governance requirements.

As discussed in an earlier post (here), the current U.K. governance initiative kicked off with the Prime Minister’s November 2016 Corporate Governance Reform Green Paper, which focused on executive pay, private companies, and workers on boards. The Green Paper solicited comments on its various proposals. The comments have been received and processed and the result is an August 2017 report entitled “Corporate Governance Reform, The Government Response to the Green Paper Consultation” (here). The report sets out a list of governance reform proposals the government intends to put into effect in the coming year.
Continue Reading U.K. Government Announces Corporate Governance Reform Proposals

wells fargoOne of the recurrent governance proposals to remedy corporate excesses has been the idea of clawing back the compensation paid to company officials who presided over corporate scandals. Both the Sarbanes Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act included provisions mandating compensation clawbacks for corporate executives at companies that restate their financial statements. As Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee details in his November 21, 2016 CLS Blue Sky Blog article entitled “Clawbacks in the Age of Trump” (here), despite these statutory revisions, the use of “extreme incentive compensation” continues to motivate corporate behavior. In order to counter-balance the impact of incentive compensation, Coffee suggests that companies should adopt their own compensation clawback requirements that apply more broadly than the statutory clawback provisions.
Continue Reading Carrot and Stick: Incentive Compensation and Compensation Clawbacks

bruce ericson
Bruce Ericson

Among the many issues arising under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are questions surrounding disgorgement under Section 304, particularly questions concerning what actions and whose actions might trigger disgorgement. In the following guest post, Bruce Ericson of the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman law firm takes a look at the Ninth Circuit’s August 31, 2016 decision in U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission v. Jensen in which the appellate court held that the SEC can seek disgorgement from a company’s CEO or CFO even if the triggering restatement did not result from those corporate officers’ misconduct. I would like to thank Bruce for his willingness to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Bruce’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Ninth Circuit Clarifies What Might Trigger SOX 304 Disgorgement

seclogoOn July 1, 2015, a divided SEC voted 3-2 to propose rules directing the securities exchanges to adopt standards requiring listed companies to adopt policies requiring the companies’ executive officers to pay back incentive-based compensation in the event the company restates its financials for the year in which the compensation was awarded. The proposed rules,

business reportWhen Congress enacted stiff executive compensation clawbacks as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, the assumption was that the adoption of these kinds of measures would reduce the number of corporate restatements and increase investor confidence in financial reports. However, a new study focused on companies that have adopted clawback measures suggests that these gains may

Over the weekend, voters in Switzerland rejected by a roughly two-to-one margin a referendum that would have restricted executive salaries at Swiss companies to twelve times that of the company’s lowest paid employee. The vote outcome is interesting because it follows so closely on the heels of a ballot initiative  earlier this year in which

Among the many measures Congress included when it enacted the sweeping Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 was a provision directing the SEC to require companies to disclose the ratio of CEO compensation to median employee compensation. The statutory provision, incorporated into Section 953(b) of the Act, reflected a perception that CEO compensation had gotten out of